Space Sciences Notable extrasolar planets

Indian Summer

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Here is the latest in a long row of discoveries over the last decades:

An international team of astronomers has confirmed the existence of a planet that could have perfect conditions for life, outside our solar system. The discovery of planets in a habitable zone rises the hope that astronomers could soon answer the question of whether we are alone in the universe (Apr '12)

Guillem Anglada-Escudé from the University Göttingen, Germany, is one of the main astronomers, who helped to confirm the existence of the new planet. It is called Gliese 667Cc and is orbiting around a red dwarf star, 22 light years away from the earth. Red dwarf stars are the most common stars in the neighborhood of the sun. Usually they host planets called gas giants which are not primarly composed of rock matter.
Read more:
Earth-Like Planet Discovery
 
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Fyvel

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This is really cool. We likely won't be traveling to these planets in our lifetimes, but it's fun to think about. FWIW. Venus is in the habitable zone and well, I wouldn't want to live there ;)
 
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Indian Summer

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This is really cool. We likely won't be traveling to these planets in our lifetimes, but it's fun to think about. FWIW. Venus is in the habitable zone and well, I wouldn't want to live there ;)
That is interesting to contemplate, about Venus. I may not be remembering correctly, but I'm under the impression the reason it's so unpleasant on Venus is because of a run-away greenhouse effect? So if that's true, maybe it could be made more suitable for life with the help of terraforming of some sort.
 

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That is interesting to contemplate, about Venus. I may not be remembering correctly, but I'm under the impression the reason it's so unpleasant on Venus is because of a run-away greenhouse effect? So if that's true, maybe it could be made more suitable for life with the help of terraforming of some sort.

Think it was because of the runaway greenhouse... that at one point it actually had an atmosphere and maybe life (have read that maybe some extremophiles may have survived). I wonder how much effort it would require to terraform a planet like that to make it habitable?

It's interesting to know, but until warp drive is invented, it really makes no difference

Or FTL drives :cool:
 

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That is interesting to contemplate, about Venus. I may not be remembering correctly, but I'm under the impression the reason it's so unpleasant on Venus is because of a run-away greenhouse effect? So if that's true, maybe it could be made more suitable for life with the help of terraforming of some sort.

Some people think Venus was actually a Bradbury-esque jungle world until some sort of catastrophic event happened, causing it to become what it is today.
 

nog

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That is interesting to contemplate, about Venus. I may not be remembering correctly, but I'm under the impression the reason it's so unpleasant on Venus is because of a run-away greenhouse effect? So if that's true, maybe it could be made more suitable for life with the help of terraforming of some sort.

Terraforming would be a impressive too. Not only is the atmosphere an issue, but the Venus solar day is just over 100 Earth days and it has retrograde motion (meaning the Sun would rise from the West and set in the East). The actual sidereal day (basically one rotation of Venus with respect to the stars) is longer than the Venus year. So there would have to be some speeding up of the planet's rotation to make it a little more habitable. :)

It's interesting to know, but until warp drive is invented, it really makes no difference

This particular planet is only 22 light years away. Assuming some progress is made, even with sub-light spacecraft (as in within the realm of our current understanding of Physics), it's possible to make it there within a lifetime of a person on a spacecraft (not necessarily a lifetime of someone on Earth though).
 
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I'm still irritated that Pluto was demoted. It was such a cute little planet.. what did it ever do to **** anyone off? :p
 

Fyvel

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This particular planet is only 22 light years away. Assuming some progress is made, even with sub-light spacecraft (as in within the realm of our current understanding of Physics), it's possible to make it there within a lifetime of a person on a spacecraft (not necessarily a lifetime of someone on Earth though).

Cool for the people on the spacecraft, not so cool for us :/

Was thinking about this the other day, how would we go about changing the atmosphere on a planet like this? We have been doing our best to plug our own atmosphere full of greenhouse gases for years and years and have done relatively very little to change our climate (so far at least).
 

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I think that if we survive long enough to figure out extrasolar planet transport, it will probably start out really slow like that but get much better with newer inventions. More money will be put into it if we know it is indeed possible. Remember how slow it was when we originally colonized places by boat? If someone at the time of the Columbian Exchange had been told of planes, they probably would have laughed their head off.
 

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The concept of habitable zones is pretty aribitary, considering you need to guess GH effect and albedo, and doesn't take into account things like tidal heating/etc like Io or Europa... but you have to start somewhere I guess. Planets are getting disovered so quickly atm, it's quite exciting.
 

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Was thinking about this the other day, how would we go about changing the atmosphere on a planet like this? We have been doing our best to plug our own atmosphere full of greenhouse gases for years and years and have done relatively very little to change our climate (so far at least).

I've read a variety of ways, from technological to bioengineering. I think it would all depend on the current atmosphere of the planet as well as the size of the planet.

As for our own atmosphere, while we are using it as a dump for our exhaust waste, I don't think we've been actively trying to change it. I suspect if we (as humans) wanted to, there's a lot more we could do to muck it up.
 

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It's easy. You just get to the space stage, mine some spice, trade with other planets, defeat some pirates, find a barren planet, colonize it, and start the terraforming process with your available tools.
 
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A team of astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope has imaged a faint object moving near a bright star. With an estimated mass of four to five times that of Jupiter, it would be the least massive planet to be directly observed outside the Solar System. The discovery is an important contribution to our understanding of the formation and evolution of planetary systems.
More at Lightest Exoplanet Imaged So Far? (European Southern Observatory, 3. June 2013)

So just to emphasise, the planet has been directly imaged, which is pretty rare in itself.
 

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This is exciting! I've been interested in astronomy since I was a kid, and the fascination never left me. I remember how they used to theorize how difficult it would be to get solid evidence for an extrasolar planet from within our solar system.

Evidently there's a planet in the Alpha Centauri system: the smaller star, Alpha Centauri B, is a little smaller than our sun and appears to have a planet orbiting around it. But if I remember correctly, it's one of those "hot Jupiters"- not suitable for any Earth lifeforms to live upon.

There are lots of red dwarf stars, but I've read that any planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf would be close enough to be tidally locked to it- the same side would always face the star. To make matters worse, red dwarfs tend to flare a lot and give off lots of x-rays.
 
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Nasa has reported that “faint signatures of water” have been found in the atmospheres of five planets outside our solar system, marking a further development in the search for planets capable of supporting alien life.

The presence of atmospheric water on exoplanets has been reported before, but Nasa says that this study is the first to “ conclusively measures and compare” the light signatures that denote the presence of water.
Nasa's Hubble telescope finds signs of water on five distant planets (The Independent, 4. Dec. 2013)
 
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Indian Summer

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Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.While planets have previously been found in the habitable zone, they are all at least 40 percent larger in size than Earth and understanding their makeup is challenging. Kepler-186f is more reminiscent of Earth.

http://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/nas...-habitable-zone-of-another-star/#.U1E7gGYo9oM
 
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NASA has announced the discovery of Kepler 452b, nicknamed "Earth 2.0" by one of the scientists:
Scientists on the hunt for extraterrestrial life have discovered “the closest twin to Earth” outside the solar system, Nasa announced on Thursday.

Working off four years’ worth of data from the Kepler space telescope, researchers from Nasa, the Seti Institute and several universities announced the new exoplanet along with 12 possible “habitable” other exoplanets and 500 new candidates in total.
More: Nasa says scientists have found 'closest twin to Earth' outside solar system | Science | The Guardian (23. July 2015)
 
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Indian Summer

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